Could the Scottish Tories back a #peoplesvote?

The Scottish Tories could be about to back a People’s Vote says the New Statesman’s Chris Deerin. 

He cites a “prominent” Conservative MSP as saying:

“When I look at what’s going on down south, I feel appalled and embarrassed,” one prominent MSP tells me. “I hate the English party. I’m horrified at the support for no deal being expressed by party members. I’ve stopped reading ConservativeHome.”

And they might back a second referendum if it is clear that Mrs May’s deal can’t get through Parliament:

Senior Scottish Tories believe the UK is on a trajectory to crash out of the EU without a deal, and that this could be fatal for the unity of the United Kingdom. I understand that they will back any measure that prevents no deal, and could publicly express support for a second referendum – if May’s deal can’t pass parliament – as early as next week. I’m told both Davidson and her stand-in Jackson Carlaw are signed up to this position. “No deal would be disastrous and jeopardise the union so we will reluctantly have to go back to the country and ask them,” says a source.

With Theresa May’s days already being numbered, the prospect of an ultra-Brexiteer as leader is not an endearing thought to her party north of the border:

Scottish sources say that if the UK party elects an English nationalist leader – ie someone from within the ERG group – it would strain the bonds to breaking point. It would also undermine the 2021 campaign – “if the Westminster Tories are as divisive and newsworthy at that point then it doesn’t matter what we do, we’re fucked,” according to a key member of Team Davidson.

That’s kind of where her opponent, Murdo Fraser, was in the leadership election Ruth Davidson won back in 2011.

I will believe the backing of the People’s Vote when I see it, not least because this is a very Holyrood-centric article. There is no sign of the Conservative MPs backing this approach although some of them are already opposed to the deal. However, it would be a very significant development if it did happen.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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2 Comments

  • This would be extraordinary. From another journalist I might take it with a pinch of salt, but Chris is an excellent reporter. One of the best in Scotland, and very well-connected.
    Like you, I’m not counting my PV chickens yet, but I do think we are entitled to reflect this week on how far we’ve come since we LibDems started talking about a ‘vote on the deal’ over 2 years ago. For a long time it was just us and Caroline Lucas. Many (including some in here) said we were wasting our time and there was no chance. Today the PV is very much on the table. There’s a lesson in there somewhere about the importance of plugging away when you believe in something.
    Ruth D is my constituency MSP. I might write to her and urge her to go for it. When I did that with my SNP MP a few months ago the whole party came out for a PV a few weeks later!

  • What is needed is a positive campaign to convince people of the reality of the European Union. We are going to end up with another botched referendum and continuing chaos otherwise.
    My view is that we need a constitution in this country, and fight for democracy here before we worry about others. Oh and let us move the capital from London, or establish a new capital for England.

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